Do-It-Yourself Hot Stone Massage

Updated on June 28, 2016

Hot Rock Massage - The Ultimate in Energy Healing Techniques

After all my fiascoes with massage therapy, I have to say that 'hands down' hot rock or hot stone massage is my all-time favorite massage.  It is the most relaxing thing I've ever experienced.  The reason that it is so powerful is that the heat of the rocks combined with the massage technique increases circulation to areas and the combination of heat with massage works to loosen muscles and tendons and relieve pain and tension. 

While Swedish massage is far more intricate, you will find for the most part that you will pay a higher price for hot stone massages simply because they are more popular.  As well, therapists will say that they have to buy special equipment to perform this style of massage and do more like heat the stones, etc.  However, in reality, you can purchase the stones in any number of places and you do not need to have anything 'special' to perform this on a partner.

What You Need

  • Set of massage stones (somewhere between 45-60 stones of varying sizes)
  • Roasting pan or crockpot to heat the stones
  • Ladle or tool to remove the hot stones from the water
  • Or a kit that does the above
  • Dry towels
  • Massage oil
  • Aromatherapy if desired (lavender is most popular)
  • Massage table (optional)  - floor or bed works just fine

You should prepare the stones about 30-60 minutes ahead of time depending on the heat source that you are using to heat the stones.  You will want the water to be about 140 degrees as when you take the stones out, they will cool to about 120 degrees.  Remove any stones you are using and dry in towels before placing on the person.  You can rub a tad of massage oil on the stones when you begin to use them to massage.

Prepare space that you will be giving the massage - whether on a bed, the floor or a standard massage table.  Cover the area with sheets or thick towels to absorb any excess oil from the stone massage.

Some massage therapists working with hot stone massage like to lay stones in a line on the table and then have the patient lie on top of them to start - so face up.  There are 2 ways to line up the spinal stones.  You can lay rather large flat stones in a line where you want the patient to put their spine - or you can lay smaller stones in 2 rows about 2 inches apart that will touch the spine on either side of midline.

Place about 4 small stones on the person's face - one on the forehead, one under the lips, and one on each cheek. 

It is usually not advisable to use massage oil on people's face or scalp but when the stones have started to cool, you can massage the person's face in small circles including the temples but do not exert too much pressure.  The warmth from the stones is an excellent modality all by itself.

You can also place medium to large stones along the front of the person to rest along the breastbone area and upon the collarbone on either side.  You can place medium to large stones on the upper thighs while you are massaging the face.  You can also place a stone in the underside of the forearm to generate warmth and a small stone in the palm of each hand.  Or you can have the person lie with the hand and wrist turned palm down and place a stone on top of the wrist for warmth.

Make sure you return the stones to the warm water if they cool and select new ones that are warm.

Using a stone that will fit easily in your hand, rub it with a bit of massage oil and then use the stone rather than your fingers to massage the person's arms and legs.  Take care to not exert more pressure than the person is comfortable with and make sure that the stone/massage follows the long cords of the muscles and tendons, for instance going from head to toe rather than sideways across the muscles.  This will aid in relaxing muscles and give a better massage. 

Use the stone to rub gently over sensitive areas such as kneecaps or elbows.  Use the heated stone to deliver the healing massage strokes to shins, thighs, arms, upper arms, collarbone areas, arch of the foot, etc. 

When you have completed the front side of the massage, have the person turn over but remove the stones from under the spine if you have had them lying on these.  Use freshly heated stones to put on the shoulder blades on both sides, into the palms of the hands again, and insert small stones if possible between the toes of each foot and wrap each foot in a towel.  If you have a stone that is small, place it at the back of the kneecap or in the crease of the elbow if it will stay.

Use the warm stone again with a small amount of oil on it to perform the massage of the back removing stones as you go.  You should be able to see a warmth mark if the stones are retaining their heat.  You of course want to heat the areas, not burn them so always go by the comfort level of the person receiving the massage and make sure the temperature is a good one for him or her. 

Continue using the warm rock to massage the bottoms of the feet, the hands, fingers, back and upper thighs. 

When completed, all the rocks should be gone and then you can finish the massage by a light rub with a little more massage oil. 

Summing It Up

In short, you can do your own hot rock massage and save a bundle! And it is available any time you need one. No reservations required. You should allow at least 90 minutes to accomplish a good hot stone massage as it is about keeping the stones warmed and soothing.

The massage therapist I went to when I had my very first hot rock massage actually went to the beach and collected her own stones. They were all beautifully polished by the sea and most were jet black. The most common stone is basalt stone but you do want various sizes. You also need to clean and dry after each use and then store for the next time.

Try this totally relaxing energy healing technique at home - it is a great thing to practice on each other and I guarantee you will never want any other kind of massage again!


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    • restrelax profile image

      restrelax 6 years ago from Los angeles CA

      Such an informative hub.Keep on sharing.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Slock62 - I just bought some replenishing stones the other day at the Dollar Tree! They are river rock and all different sizes. The best news was - $1! Thanks so much for reading.

    • slock62 profile image

      slock62 7 years ago from Florida

      I'v often wondered myself if just regular stones from the river would work. I could see no reason they wouldn't. Nice to get this assurance. Thanks

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Me, too! My insurance doesn't cover it anymore and I surely could use one or three!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Wow, this is an excellent article, I love a deep massage, I miss having them done. I need to make more money writing hubs so I can go back and get my massages. Thanks for sharing this fantastic hub.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      You bet, Faye - it is a wonderful method for massage - my favorite but the price is prohibitive. This way, maybe we can enjoy it more! Thanks so much for commenting.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you Audrey, it sounds delicous, I have have to try it. Thank you for shnaring. Godspeed. creativoene59

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks - and that sounds heavenly! A whole room of them - I might never leave....I would just have to slither out on all fours afterwards. Always appreciate you commenting.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      This sounds lovely - so luxurious. I can certainly do this - I like the use of the crock pot to control the temperature. When I was working in S. Korea I went to a spa that had a hot room filled with these stones and you kind of sink yourself down in them. These heat treatments are so good for the body. Our elders knew what they were doing when they used those hot water bottles.

      I'll save this for reference. Thanks so much!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks sandyspider! It is making me want one right now.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Nice informative hub.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Good! Thanks for commenting as always. Be careful now and stay away from anything that weighs more than you do. I should talk!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 8 years ago from England

      Ha Ha, yep I suppose that would do the back in! still, I am still in one piece!! Nell

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Yes - especially if you keep lifting those TV's!!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 8 years ago from England

      Hi, Audrey, this sounds great. I can't say I have ever thought of it before, but I would really like to have a go now. thanks, good idea! cheers nell